The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

Knight’s Light Assault Machine Gun

Once Hiram Maxim’s machine gun had been adopted by British, American, and Russian armed forces, the hunt was on for an equally reliable automatic weapon that didn’t require six men, a mule, and several small boys to operate. There’s an almost watertight case for the first successfully fielded light machine gun being the 1914 Lewis gun, though at 28 pounds, “light” is a relative term. Relative to the 60 pounds of the Maxim, that is.

Despite being a quantum leap in portability, the Lewis, like the BAR in American service, suffered from its lack of a replaceable barrel, severely limiting the number of rounds that could be fired in support of assaulting infantry. While the requirement for a squad automatic weapon was identified all the way back in 1917, at least in U.S. service, it seemed as if the magic combination of quick-change barrel, belt feed, and being chambered in the same ammunition as the rest of the squad’s individual weapons wasn’t ever going to happen in the same gun.

At least not for long — there was a brief period of sanity in the early ’60s when the M60 and M14 were issued together, but then 5.56 became the flavor du jour, and infantry squads were stuck with a SAW that required ammo which couldn’t be used in their rifles, and vice versa. It took until 1984, and the adoption of the FNH Minimi, before soldiers finally got the weapon they’d been asking for.

The prospect of a lucrative contract from Big Army was a pretty sizeable carrot, spurring ’80s designers the world over to sharpen their pencils. Several submissions from overseas were in the ballpark — the CETME Ameli and Daewoo K3 checked all the boxes, while the Singaporean Ultimax designed by Jim Sullivan was the lightest of the bunch. Also in contention was the Ares LMG designed by Sullivan’s boss at Fairchild, none other than the prophet Eugene Stoner.

Short top cover means more real estate for sighting systems. But getting to buggered-up cases in the event of a stoppage is more difficult.

Short top cover means more real estate for sighting systems. But getting to buggered-up cases in the event of a stoppage is more difficult.

Reed Knight was a personal friend of the maestro’s, and so it came to pass that Stoner’s final design was refined and tweaked by Knight’s Armament in order to meet the needs of the modern warfighter. Now, those needs might not as yet have been articulated as requiring the adoption of an ultralight SAW, but that hasn’t stopped KAC from putting the gun into production.

As of press time, the third iteration of a project that started life in 1986 weighs in at a feathery 9 pounds (and change) unloaded, balancing like a bull-barreled M4. Despite its pretensions, the M249 most definitely handles like a machine gun. With the LAMG, you could almost forget you have 200 rounds on tap, until you need it.

From the outside, it looks like a prop from Aliens. Its deep handguards have multiple M-LOK slots on both flanks and Pic rails top and bottom to accept all manner of lights, lasers, rangefinders, bipods, and, if you’re feeling froggy, a rail-mounted under-barrel grenade launcher isn’t out of the question. Lightening cuts feature prominently on the sides of the aluminum receiver, which is longer than you’d expect for a 5.56 weapon — more on that later.

In order to see just how soldier-proof the LAMG’s design was, we attempted to quickly field strip it without any instructions. Here’s the result.

In order to see just how soldier-proof the LAMG’s design was, we attempted to quickly field strip it without any instructions. Here’s the result.

Its charging handle can be swapped from left to right side operation, depending on user preference and training. And while M240 and 249 gunners may want to run it with their right hand, the rest of us will probably opt for keeping our paws on the standard, AR pistol grip. Stripping the gun reveals a mixture of features found elsewhere, though nowhere in this exact ratio. Press in a latch, and the buttstock slides downward for removal like a M240, while the trigger mechanism housing slides backward like a BREN. Barrel change is M249-ish, but the barrel extension will be familiar to anyone who’s ever stripped an AR.

According to SGM (Ret) Dan Brokos, the current inventory of machine guns leaves a lot to be desired, especially when attempting to use them in the tight confines of the urban battle space.
“Special Forces doesn’t currently use the M249 SAW in the assaulter role. While we love the firepower it brings to the fight, it’s old and heavy, and once you put a decent optic on the topcover, it becomes difficult to reload and clear malfunctions. I’ve used the LAMG, and can shoot that motherf*cker off the shoulder all day.”

Although it points like a rifle, it’s most definitely an MG, and as it fires from an open bolt, it’s worth taking a detailed look at the mechanism. It’s full-auto only, with a sear that, when cocked, engages a ledge on the lower surface of the carrier, holding it fully to the rear against pressure from the recoil spring. On release, the carrier flies forward and a lug at the 12 o’clock position on its multi-lugged bolt (hey, it’s a Stoner design — what did you expect?) strips a round from the first M27 link on the feed tray and pushes it into the chamber.

knights armament lmg

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